Little is more important to America's long-term future than its true #1 "service industry"—research universities. There are rankings and rankings and rankings, and some are confusing as hell. Among the top 50, various polls give us, roughly, between 50% and 70%. (Add in the Europeans and Canada and the number is consistently at or above 90%.) In one poll, raw # of scientific papers, American universities took the top 24 slots. Given budget woes affecting the likes of the University of California, all of whose campuses are usually in the top 100, the situation is always precarious.